by Doris Donnerman
(last updated April 3, 2009)
One of the more favorite hunting dogs in the West is the Golden Retriever. This dog has everything that a good retriever should have: great stamina, a nose that can follow a scent, and lack of aggression (without being a coward). Golden Retrievers are most trustworthy and loyal companions. With his intelligence and love for work he is a very easy dog to train.
The introduction of the Golden Retriever came about in a unique way. In 1860 Dudley Majoribanks went to a circus in Brighton, England, and saw a troupe of Russian performing dogs. He was quite impressed with the performance of these dogs; so impressed that he made an effort to purchase a pair of them. The Russian trainer refused to sell a pair claiming that it would spoil his act. Majoribanks then offered to buy all eight. This proved to be a fortunate purchase as the new owner now had a variety of bloodlines and could do some extensive breeding.
The dogs purchased that year were called Russian Trackers. These dogs came from a very old breed and served a variety of purposes in Russia. One of the main purposes of the Russian Tracker was that of guarding flocks of sheep. The Russian Tracker was a much larger dog than the Golden Retriever, with the original breed weighing as much as a hundred pounds and measured thirty inches from the shoulder.
Majoribanks bred his dogs over the course of about ten years. The size of the original dogs was considered too cumbersome for the sportsmen, so in 1870 it was decided to crossbreed the dogs with a Bloodhound. This cross reduced the breed to its present size and increased his scenting power. It also developed a coat that was slightly darker in color and a more refined texture.
A general description of The Golden Retriever's coat may be either flat or wavy with a good undercoat that is dense and water resistant. The color is that of a rich golden or cream color. The ideal weight for a male adult dog is between 65 and 68 pounds while the female dogs weigh between 55 and sixty pounds. The height ranges between twenty and twenty-four inches from the shoulders.
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